1. I wouldn’t say Mr. Baldwin himself is confused about it. That’s the joke. To intentionally confuse the normal meaning of “father-in-law” and act as if it was somehow related to being an officer of the law.

    It’s doesn’t really work, and it isn’t funny, though.

  2. What Winter says.

    Plus, an infant would not have a father-in-law. Maybe if it were the maternity ward, and the focus was on a new mother, someone could be not her father but her father-in-law. He would nonetheless stand as the baby’s grandfather.

  3. Yes that’s it. Probably would have worked better if he was a lawyer, but there’s no uniform and thus would be more difficult to show clearly.

  4. I’ll offer a totally different take on this one. Probably not what the cartoonist meant. One of them is the father “in law” of the baby — presumably the husband of the mother. The other is the father “in fact” — her paramour. That’d what jumped out at me.

  5. Mark, he could have been carrying a briefcase embossed with DEWEY, CHEATEM AND HOWE.

    The joke still wouldn’t have worked, of course.

  6. Are the two nonspeakers . . . reporters!? They seem to have notepads and once has a camera strap on the shoulder.

    And the law-enforcement-guy seems to be wearing dictator clothes.

    So I’m thinking they’re doing a story on the dictator of Val Verde, and ran into the bio-dad related to an arranged marriage in the works.


  7. And tomorrow we will have a wild canine wolfing down its food.

    Cornered has come to this.

  8. This is a pun on “father-in-law” sounding like “father-in-law-enforcement.”

    The execution of the overall joke is a somewhat confusing, however.

  9. “Father-in-law” in this case, I assumed, was a man who the court had declared the father and forced him to pay child support even though it’s not his child. Happens all the time.

    This fellow always disputed paternity and the court never did a test. He had to pay for a DNA test on his own, it’s proven he’s not the father and he still has to pay.

    This guy was separated from his wife and she got knocked up, had the kid and the biological father acknowledged the child as his name is on documents. But a judge decided her ex-husband was on the hook. The biological dad has been denied rights to his child.

    And this is a report on several men who were simply named by women, including, in some cases, women they didn’t even have sex with, as the father and have been put on the hook.

    Pretty scary stuff. Not only does it place a decades long financial burden on these men, I imagine it can destroy their relationships if they’re named the father of another woman’s child. And, of course, there is the social stigma as fathers who are perceived as trying to avoid their financial obligations to their children have about the same social standing as those who molest children. On top of all that, I’m sure there are people who will say “it’s not a real problem” and “think of the children”.

    So, yeah, that’s what father-in-law means in this comic. 🙂

  10. Even simpler – A woman’s husband has been considered to be the father of her child – by law – unless there is proof to the contrary, so her husband could be the father in law (meaning the father in/per the law) while someone is, as SingaporeBill says, the actual father.

  11. There are three young people whose precise relationship to me is… complicated. Two of them are “cousins,” because why not, and one of them is a “niece,” because that’s how our relationship evolved.

    I figure nobody other than geni.com needs to care about the details.

  12. As for precise relationships — I am (or was) related by marriage to two celebrities, but it’s a bit difficult to put a name to it. Their father’s second wife (they were children with his first wife) later became the second wife of my wife’s father. (Oh, all right — “of the father of my second wife.”)

    Needless to say, I never met them (and I believe my late father-in-law met them only once). But you gotta grab fame when you can get it.

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